5 Tips to GET NEW CLIENTS Business Growth Hack: ABSORB YOUR CLIENTSâ€™ STRESS! 3 ways to MAKE YOUR WORKSPACE WORK FOR YOU REACHING THE MILLENNIAL MARKET Through Social Media 3 Mental Tricks that Will TAKE YOUR BUSINESS TO THE NEXT LEVEL
JUDE HODGE CAREY HUGHES CHERYL KINLEY MICHELLE MERTINS ANGELA STEVENS
JUDE HODGE Real estate is known for its emotional highs and 7 Jude lows. But thanks to 25 years in marketing, Hodge can look at each client’s situation and know instinctively how to provide the most comfortable experience. Always professional, never pushy, she’s all about building relationships and treating people fairly.
“I like to be a catalyst and connect people,” she says. “I want to hold18 their hands, but not just through the process. I want them to be happy With her parents active i here.” estate industry, a career a always seemed like a pos When it comes to marketing her listings, Jude is Carey Hughes. But it wasn a strong believer in staging. She goes through the left her ten-year tenure at Ni home and offers suggestions, referring to Martha new professional path would In real estate, Jude found the career she was meant Stewart or the Property Brothers in order not to reality. In the spirit of entrep for. At age 22 she was eager to get her license, but offend. “Let’s ‘Marthanize’ your home!” she’ll and in pursuit of a more se ROBERTA TAWELL CAREYbuy HUGHES bailed when she saw how difficult the test was. say, meaning some pillows, fluff the beds, JUDE HODGE MICHELLE MERTINS role, Carey made the transi She went into marketing instead, but as time went unclutter the floors. Then she uses 3D Matterport world of real estate. Sixteen later, Carey It’s done easy to see why Portland Monthly magazine named a familyyears hastobeen a re by, she Top kept wishing sheMertins had it.Realty Years later, photography, drones and camera Agent Michelle of Exit Bend Intensive and cutting edgea professional marketing isteam 21 27 25 guished herself as a consummate professional, Bend, Oregon has quickly established a repuanother factor Michelle’sbetween success. While and Angela Stevens and her team, Hatch create Homesphotos Group, absolutely has to see havin a ho she wasindoing marketing for five real estate agencies in town that make theindifference night day. a utilize practice built onMLS longstanding relationships, one ofathe most trusted dependable she does the standard route, she Five Starand Professionals years show it, I always have bacp and hadtation just as posted condominium on Facebook. Aseven woman in in a row. Besides ROBERTA he aprovides her with a multitude of tasks, from d Top Agent Cheryl Kinley, Owneralso and service, and decisive follow-through. real estate agents working in her area today. employs bevy of other methods. “Just stellar and results, spills out of Angela’s “I love sister and She my parents are a TAWELL her building expressed interest, Judepassion arranged a meeting Judelife. doesn’t mind spending money totanks make money. pays secur search of septic providing personal Broker of Oregon West Real Estate priorinto going live with the listing, Itoput it on what I do,” she says. “This isn’t just a side thing for me. clients as I am.” for her While with the agent. The next time Jude saw that agent, she to have her listings on Zillow, Trulia and realtor.com come up relatively new to the industry, MichelleJunction City, Oregon is one of my Facebook page over real- and its surroun valuable business advice. those Serving the that westhasside of500 Portland Clients canto reach outrare to me time, even long after asked what the commission had been on that condo. “It wasagents onwho theisfront page. But among many determination and dedication providing tors in Central Oregon,” saystechniques, Michelle. “I her do pièce de realany estate trulythe communities, Carey approaches her work with ainpers Along with joy he transaction hasWhat closed. I’ll always be there for them.” $23,000,” Jude remembers. “I thought, am I doing? So exceptional client service has catapulted her video walk-throughs, and I’m a member of résistance is a Facebook group, “Brookville,” that she her began a her burgeoning referral business, Cheryl is mitted to putting her clients first. Her and With views role as agent from a position of ad to the topmy of her profession in record time. A over 40 Facebook groups where I’ll post the homes. She began her care at age 53, I got license.” nine years agothem to bringsomething the community together. Today it has is tha right. What that is, she believes, dedication to providing each of care about the person and the family behind each tra former public servant, Angela’s she becameparents, intriguedJohn by and Melody Hatch, listing as well. I use Wordpress, started their since andsounds sold h 17,000 members. She hasInstagram, an additional 38remodeled groups from my clients first. My daughter says with the very best inalmost client service has sheand says. “To me, my work doesn’t justthat come dow the real estate industry while observing an agent LinkedIn Craigslist. I make a multitude team asshe Hatch Homes Groupone more than 20Vegas years to ago. her background in art they and d Las Washington, with over a million members. She That was in 2014. The first year, sold $3.5 million in the the truth. They do come first, and I think become of her chief hallmarks. friend of hers. “SheCHERYL was always excited about of flyers, hang them in just my office windows, bers—it’s not another sale to me.” In that vs KINLEY ANGELA STEVENS MICHELLE MERTINS Now the team is part of the highest producing office in ant to me,” she says. “I advertises many of her listings as retirement opportunities on first seven months. This year, her fourth, she’s sold close to feel that, and they experience that as well. Ipaid alw going to work and helping people,” says Michelle. “I was in a all the coffee shops and hardware stores. I make multifocuses on cultivating lasting relationships with h Portland, Keller Williams Realty Professionals. drawn to. Now I pull that into helping $20 million. “I waited a lifetime for this, only to find out I was the groups outside the area. phone, return texts and emails. My clients have to Cheryl began her 20-year journey in job that wasn’t a great fit for me, and I envied her enthusiasm ple videos of the exterior or interior of special features of building mutual trust and providing support alon and right the idea of actually enjoying what you do for a living. house.” available to them,looks otherwise what’s the pleasing point?” the real estate industry while still inII had college. sure what she doing the thing!” she says. “All that networking did theNot listing as aesthetically Carey’s focus is on quality over quantity, and she n the When idea of estate, so after I asked her to introCONTENTS wanted to real do, she left her second year and began employover thealways yearstoyed paidwith off.” Angela graduated from Portland State University in 2007, photography, and the listing s Jude and her husband are always working, butshe they to godoesn’t on more than canlove handle. Because duce me to her principal broker. metrecruited him, escrow reallyher, liked him, and The her feeltransactions for Michelle is best illusThis care and concern has translated into a solid ment with a Ititle and company, firstshe’d as aappreciation runner which her stepdad telling her be perfect for clients the famRVing. The- ocean, mountains, redwoods and rivers are close ents areon treated with attentiveness, accessibility, an the decision to begin in real estate was pretty easy.” trated by this five-star review Zillow:real “Michelle Mertins on internet estate portal Zillow.com. Amon morphed intoGROWTH fifteen marketing for -with and later 4) BUSINESS HACK: 22) REACHING THE Sheyears started an administrative assistant, worked her Since 80 percent of buyers the Jude serves Brookings andily thebusiness. Oregon coast withdoing a as 25 percent by,them and wifi in her car, she never ago beat in stemming herbegin with Exit Realty is an extremely dedicated agentmisses andher willbusiness sensitivity. With 95% of reviews this clients solid endorsement: “Cheryl washer vf selling real estate forher six years. She then departed theShe’s industry enough way upsuburb and got in 2010. pares a strong presence repeat and referral rate—remarkable for in business business. toisclientele, give their keys orCarey’s show for ABSORB YOUR CLIENTS' MILLENNIAL MARKET A resident of the lovely Bend ofsomeone Threelicense Rivers, Michelle the distance in an close effort to referral sell your home. She also isonline very and it’s clear that practi all the the details of my parents home. She work in thegiven education fieldof for fifteen returning to realowners just four years, but swath nottosurprising, her level care. “I years, a house, far enough forSOCIAL a and therapeutic experience. links onselling Facebook andserves. Instagram. Sh works a large of Central Oregon, including Deschutes, compassionate about trials they go through STRESS! THROUGH MEDIA memorable impression on those she “Really of homes in the area and was very kind and cari estate three years ago. andAngela Multnomah Counties. in moving or relocating and is there door to assist every step of is the team leader, the Portland metro area. always Crook, take itJefferson, beyondKlamath theToday sale,” she says. “If people need aserving knocking in caring the neighborhood o being an four authentic person, and the peo time. Cheryl dealt with to us about on every lev the I have bought anddifficult sold homes and have found referral to a doctor or mechanic, they 90 know they of canher callbusiness me. I came This year, percent from repeat clients and neighbors. “It’s hard beat what w Sheway. credits her company, RE/MAX Coast and Country, for a with,” explains. “I her wantknowledge to be able thing happening and I trusted an Since TO her return, business been large working Clear,13) communication duringher phases of has a transacMichelledue to beinwithout doubt the best agentshe by far.” 5 TIPS GET NEW want them toconsistent be comfortable in their newall surroundings.” She booming, referrals—clear proof that her enthusiasm pays off. Listening care“We cover every base, including inte good deal of her success. “Great support makes a difference in 26) 3 MENTAL TRICKS THAT with my clients and give them what they tion plays a huge factor in Michelle’s success, as does follow-up recommend Cheryl to help anyone buyingneed, or sella part to the authentic and honest approach to what is often a cutgoes a step further, hosting dinners withindifferent groups fully and staying touch with pastI clients areactive keygo to her children’s success. where you and howYOUR you getkeeps there,” shecoming says. as Jude with CLIENTS her clientstoo, post-closing table. “I follow up, and Highly inTAKE her schools, shethem volunteers a plans to what back.” WILL BUSINESS throat industry. “I always feel like I was blessed with success when I that’s of clients to help them meet others who are also newcomers. In addition to participating office c continue going, and getting there, until she retires. make it a point tocame followback up with lead that comes assistant coach She for her son’sInsoccer team andfinancial also assists her of theinreal spite of the rewards esta intoevery the single real estate business,” says Cheryl. is TO THE NEXT LEVEL to me. I have clients use geo-location to capture leads for texting husband withshe coaching duties for daughter’s volleyball team. “When you’re in the process of the transaction,” says, “you’re years ago Angela began women’s n for more marketing listings, Carey is amethodical personal aspects that Cheryl finds m also grateful to her daughterYOUR and son-in-law, who let Cheryl help As the 19)and3anWAYS TO MAKE QR codes 800 number, sotoallyour of those leads every go rightday. to my She isall active insudden, the PTA. you’re Her civic involvement includes the talking clients And then of a supporting other women’s businesse “Because my presentation family, I really flexib them with buying and selling a homes home,on whichBend accounted for two prehensive inofher ofenjoy eachthe property phoneWORKSPACE and I immediately follow upAngela with them. I put my and Sun River of Commerce. FOR YOU not.” SoWORK makes it a“Not pointalltokids get want coffee or aparents drinkChambers every so supporting clients’ causes,I’m too, such “I also love to help people. I believe doing of her first three transactions. their realtor tours, so I get realtors through the doors and not just buyoften with previous clients, especially when they’ve really conchildren that Hatch Homes sponsored for a reason. When you buildget involved in real es be involved in large their lives,” laughs ers.” Once the sale to is complete, Michelle makesdecisions a concertedineffort Looking to theCheryl. future, Michelle’s plan is to continue keeps– them. relationships going with evident particularly that it’s notinallher about buying and selling, i “Allnected. three ofShe my children in fact, all of my - monthly were my mailings to let her clients know how much shealso appreciates Having ingfamily her already-stellar reputation, home anda two annual client appreciation Casino Night (an evening Angela’s working, she love recently teamed upcheerleaders. with custom card company, sheevents, community of Three “I definitely want to become going on When in people’s lives.not Ia believe everything They absolutely encouraged me, which was part ofRivers. Phone 888-461-3930 |greeting Fax 310-751-7068 uses that medium to stay in touch. Closing gifts that go above and primary agent in this area,” she says. “I want people to turn to with a charity raffle) and a day at the Oregon Zoo. Two reason, days and ing her two kids “glamping” theh this is what I’m doing and I’min very my event motivation.” beyond industry standards are another tool she utilizes, me whenever buyoffice or sell orthat referI someone. want to give firstname.lastname@example.org | including www.topagentmagazine.com fulfor get doIhusband it.” before Thanksgiving, clients are also invited to the they team’s andtoher remodeled last year. gift baskets that areWhile customized to thehome client’s interests. toCity, a place Cheryl’s office located Junction sheI really sells appetizers drinks and canmanner pickinup aback complimentary pie.love.” No portion of this issue may be and reproduced inisany whatsoever without prior consent of the publisher. Top Agent Looking the future, plansfuture to continu within by a large radius, often going as far north as the outskirts Passion defines Angela’s as w Magazine is published Feature Publications GA, Inc. Although precautions areof taken to ensure to the accuracy ofCheryl published business, while sacrificing none of the high-qu Portland, and as far south as Roseburg. Cheryl currently works as For more information about Jude Hodge of RE/MAX Coast and Country, Brookings, OR, Angela delivers a fun, supportive, successful real estate experience mentoring her team and ultimately w materials, Top Agent Magazine cannot be held responsible for opinions expressed or facts supplied by its authors. service that hasshe become synonymous with her a solo agent, though she is quick toexpert point out the debt of gratitude clients rave about. She’s an negotiator who makes her cliTo subscribe or change address, send inquiry to email@example.com. it as expands Thisna homewithjude.com; call 541-813-9261 or 541-412-9535, extquantity…and 117; her business. please visit she owes her husband for the unfailing support and assistance idea of quality, not faith,” she say To learn Published in the U.S.ents’ goals her own. And in the fast-paced Portland market, having to enjoy every minute as she moves
email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her page at facebook.com/judehodgebroker www.
e-mail Ca CareyHu Copyright Top Top Agent Agent Magazine Magazine www.
For more information about Michelle Mertins,
Top Agent Magazine
Business Growth Hack: Absorb Your Clients’ Stress! Your business coach or a CRM software sales rep has probably described a number of products or services to help you grow your business. But sometimes the easiest way to increase the deals you’re closing is to simply be present for your clients. In doing so, you’ll find have the power to decrease the stress they feel. And when you decrease their stress, you increase your value to them, leading to new referrals and organic growth. 4
You may be thinking, “I have enough stress; how can I find the emotional bandwidth for other people’s stress?” But consider this: As their day-to-day point of contact in this life decision, you are already a strong presence in your client’s lives. Why not allow yourself to be the only seemingly calm part of this process? By asking them what’s on their mind, by truly listening, by showing that you truly understand and even by rolling up
Top Agent Magazine
Top Agent Magazine
your sleeves to relieve some of their grunt work, you’ll prove yourself invaluable. Think of yourself as the equivalent of an anti-anxiety pill to your clients. All you have to do is form a few easy habits.
Laura and Raj, their agent and their loan officer soon came to learn that Laura’s 80-year-old mother may eventually move in with the family. This news not only helped the agent best meet Laura’s and Raj’s needs for a new home; it gave both the agent and the loan officer opportunities to go above and beyond for their clients. Their REALTOR® connected Laura with a senior services nonprofit near Laura’s mom’s current home that may be able to assist the family. And their loan officer outlined various, detailed options to Laura and Raj make smart, long-term financial decisions. Meanwhile, the agent and loan officer earned the trust of Laura and Raj, who felt less worried about the future.
Listen – really listen – with patience Behind every home purchase or sale is a person or a family with a uniquely complex set of needs, motivations, objectives and priorities. Asking the right questions and truly listening to the answers are the easiest ways to learn how to make clients’ lives easier. In doing so, you not only show that you’re interested in them as people, but you help yourself discover ways to surprise your clients with service. Take “Laura and Raj,” for instance – a couple in their 30s who wanted a larger home because their family of five outgrew their first home. By patiently getting to know Top Agent Magazine
Empathize Don’t be afraid to describe your own personal experiences as a homebuyer or seller, explaining how you felt at the time; let your client know you “get” it. The agent who is willing to open up and let buyers and
Top Agent Magazine
sellers know that they personally understand their needs and concerns will connect with clients quickly, break down barriers and help the process move smoothly. Chayan Alavi, Broker/Owner of Alavi Agency in Long Beach, California, challenges himself and his team to ensure that every action of every day serves others. “If we can put ourselves in other people’s shoes with empathy, then we become stellar professionals and great human beings, too,” he says. “I like knowing that we remove the sales pitch from real estate and make it all about the customer.” Chayan and his team focus on customer advocacy and building trust. But they don’t take trust for granted. Instead, they know trust must be earned and nurtured over time.
Roll up your sleeves “You can’t be afraid to do anything!” says Matthew Todd of d’aprile properties in the Chicago area. “People know there’s nothing I won’t do to get the job done.” He has 6
mowed clients’ lawns, walked dogs and personally cleaned someone’s 8,000-squarefoot, $2 million home for a showing one day after his seller left the house. Two days before another closing, Matthew’s client was unable to move large amounts of unneeded furniture out of the house he sold. No problem! Matthew joined or created five online garage sales; sold or gave away most of the client’s belongings and had the remainder hauled away before cleaning in time for the closing. “The first time I sit with a seller on listing presentation or the first day I take someone on a buyer’s tour, they know I’m ‘all-in.’” Meanwhile, in the Cincinnati area, Aaron Denton of Summit Funding considers himself and his team members to be concierges for their borrowers. “We’re like personal assistants,” says Aaron. “People are happier when you remove the stress.” Included in their standard services are researching moving quotes; arranging and organizing movein day; scheduling utility transfers; assisting with children’s school registration paperwork; and even connecting buyers with local resources like daycares. If “rolling up your sleeves” isn’t your strongest skill, then an easy alternative is to get to know professionals in your area who can do these tasks for you. In the end, remember that by listening with patience, empathizing, and being willing to go the extra mile, you have the power to remove the stress your clients would experience without your help. When clients feel cared for, they remember the agents and partners who helped them.
Top Agent Magazine
Top Agent Magazine
Top Agent Magazine
ROBERTA TAWELL 7
ROBERTA TAWELL Commitment to education, devotion to clients, attention to detail and desire for lifelong clients have shaped Roberta Tawell’s remarkable 17 years in real estate. Fortunately for the real estate industry, the “veterinarian thing” didn’t work out for Roberta. “I hadn’t considered real estate,” says Roberta, a Portland, OR, area REALTOR® with Windermere Real Estate. “I was interested in veterinary medicine because I loved animals and was really fascinated with biology and chemistry. But when the veterinary path didn’t work out for me, I decided humans were my next best option and earned a master’s degree in clinical nutrition and, later, a second master’s in healthcare admin8 Copyright Top Agent Magazine
istration.” That led her to a successful career in medical settings. There, Roberta discovered her gift for helping different kinds people meet different goals. She also decided she might be best suited for starting her own business. This is the point at which one might guess Roberta went to real estate school – not culinary school. “I was trained by professional chefs, opened an artisan bakery and developed some great products!” she says of the next twist in her career’s plotline. “Customer service was a huge part of that business.” Although owning a bakery was back-breaking work, if not for the bakery Roberta may not have found real estate. Top Agent Magazine
“My husband and I owned the building with the bakery and made a profit when we sold it, and I realized there could be something to real estate!” she says. “I already liked working with people, communicating and helping people achieve their goals.” In 2000, Roberta earned her license and joined Coldwell Banker in Pasadena, California. “I learned all I could, applied all the skills I had acquired and began developing a successful real estate career,” says Roberta. She worked the floor taking calls and walk-ins, and held open houses, building her business one client at a time. When it came time in 2006 for Roberta and her husband to move to Oregon, Top Agent Magazine
she then applied that same tenacity to starting up in Portland despite being “air-dropped into a market where I knew no one,” she says. Given her ongoing desire to form close connections, Roberta established herself in the three-county Portland Metro Area, where she has sold cottages, luxury homes, investment properties and condos. She helps seasoned home buyers and sellers as well as investors and first-time buyers through Windermere. “I chose Windermere because their values align with mine,” says Roberta, who appreciates that Windermere agents give back to the community and all agents donate from their commissions to the company’s foundation, which supports organizations benefiting Copyright Top Agent Magazine9
“I want to learn whatever I can and share that knowledge to help my clients reach their goals.”
women, children and families. One way she learned Portland was by training as a volunteer educational walking tour guide for third graders through Urban Tour Group, where she still volunteers. Always wanting to provide more, Roberta’s numerous certifications include Certified Residential Specialist, which only 4% percent of REALTORS® hold. She’s a Master Certified Negotiation Expert, a Seniors Real Estate Specialist, and Short Sale and Foreclosure Resource certified. She is also a trade ally of the Energy Trust of Oregon, through which she is well-versed on energy efficient construction. “I want to learn whatever I can and share that knowledge to help my clients Copyright Top Agent Magazine 10
reach their goals,” she says. “My clients come first always and they’re clients for life.” Clients appreciate the rapport they build with Roberta and notice that she removes the burden from them, making things as seamless as possible. They become friends; with many she enjoys Portland’s thriving “foodie” scene, nearby wineries and outdoor recreation. Looking to the future, Roberta plans to carefully expand her team while maintaining her high-level of client focus. “You have to be detail oriented to succeed in this business,” says Roberta, referring to a wise saying she embraces: “Service isn’t a big thing it’s a million little things.” She also will never stop learning. “Education is part of who I am; it’s in my DNA,” she says. “Anyone who is well educated can better help their clients.” Having navigated a fascinating, education-based path into real estate, Roberta knows that in 2000 she found her perfect-match career. “It’s very natural for me to do this work,” she says, gratefully. Top Agent Magazine
Top Agent Magazine
Copyright Top Agent Magazine 11
To learn more about ROBERTA TAWELL, visit robertatawell.com, email email@example.com or call 503.358-2851 www.
Copyright Top Agent Magazine 12
Top Agent Magazine
5 Tips to Get New Clients If you’ve been in the industry for a while, you’ve probably built up a healthy percentage of repeat and referral business. Although it can be tempting to just maintain those relationships rather than generating new business, there’s something to be said for staying on top of Top Agent Magazine
your game by never resting on your laurels. Actively pursuing new clients is not only a way to generate more business, but depending on how you do it, it could even lead to a profitable new niche. Here are just a few ways to build up your new client base. 13
Become a referral partner with industry peers
Cold Call Expired and FSBO Listings
Everyone from mortgage lenders, to financial planners, to insurance agents, can be potentially lucrative referral partners for a Realtor®. You may already have great relationships with some that just need to be more formalized. But, you don’t just want to partner with anyone, make sure these are people you also feel completely comfortable referring your clients to - people who share your values and work ethic.
Another avenue to consider is divorce attorneys – yes, you heard that correctly. Helping people go through this difficult period actually requires a very specific skill set. You need to be able to handle the legal aspects, as well as the emotional ones. There are numerous training courses you can take if you decide to take this route, which could end up being a lucrative and much-needed specialty.
This is a route a lot of agents take when they are just starting out, that usually leads to great success. You probably haven’t cold called since you started out, and this is a great skill to build up again. It will not only sharpen your sales skills, but could generate a lot more business. People with For Sale By Owners (FSBOs) and expired listings, are usually very motivated to sell. This is a great chance for you to really hone in on why they need to hire you. Do you offer innovative marketing plans? Access to a large sphere of influence? Expired listing clients are looking for ways to sell a property that seems impossible to move. With FSBOs, you need to show them how you can get them more money in their pocket, even 14
with paying you a commission. Pursuing both will really engage your mind to think outside of the box, which will not only get you more business, but make you better at what you do. Top Agent Magazine
Partner up with a Relocation Company
Become a Builder’s Realtor® of choice
This is another niche market that you can really capitalize on if you want to pursue a new specialty. But, it is a specialty, so getting educated on the process will help you generate the business you want. It’s a complicated area of real estate, you’ll often
times be helping to facilitate dual transactions, as you try and secure a property at the same time you are helping your relocation client sell their previous home. This specialty is becoming an in-demand skill in areas that have major corporate headquarters.
This can be a real score for any Realtor®. The competition might be fierce to land a client like this, but there are numerous ways to make yourself stand out from the rest. Gain certifications and become knowledgeable about the construction process. Be wellversed on what trendy materials, features, and finishes will add value to a property. Get the builder on board with you by offering to take just a segment of the subdivision then wow them with your marketing skills. Take on properties they haven’t been able to sell. You can even offer to throw an open
house for them. This is another way to show them the level of service they can expect from you. These clients might be harder to land, but the payoff will be enormous.
Create a Website that Offers Real Value to Potential Clients
Perhaps the most useful way of getting contact information for people looking to sell is by adding a home valuation feature to your website. When people are first considering selling their home, finding out how much
Top Agent Magazine
it is worth is one of the first questions they want answered. By becoming a resource to potential clients (and current clients!), you just might be the first person that comes to mind when they’re actually looking to sell. 15
Top Agent Magazine
JUDE HODGE Real estate is known for its emotional highs and lows. But thanks to 25 years in marketing, Jude Hodge can look at each client’s situation and know instinctively how to provide the most comfortable experience. Always professional, never pushy, she’s all about building relationships and treating people fairly. In real estate, Jude found the career she was meant for. At age 22 she was eager to get her license, but bailed when she saw how difficult the test was. She went into marketing instead, but as time went by, she kept wishing she had done it. Years later, she was doing marketing for five real estate agencies in town and had just posted a condominium on Facebook. A woman in her building expressed interest, and Jude arranged a meeting for her with the agent. The next time Jude saw that agent, she asked what the commission had been on that condo. “It was $23,000,” Jude remembers. “I thought, What am I doing? So at age 53, I got my license.” That was in 2014. The first year, she sold $3.5 million in the first seven months. This year, her fourth, she’s sold close to $20 million. “I waited a lifetime for this, only to find out I was doing the right thing!” she says. “All that networking I did over the years paid off.” Jude serves Brookings and the Oregon coast with a 25 percent repeat and referral rate—remarkable for someone in business just four years, but not surprising, given her level of care. “I always take it beyond the sale,” she says. “If people need a referral to a doctor or mechanic, they know they can call me. I want them to be comfortable in their new surroundings.” She goes a step further, too, hosting dinners with different groups of clients to help them meet others who are also newcomers.
“I like to be a catalyst and connect people,” she says. “I want to hold their hands, but not just through the process. I want them to be happy here.” When it comes to marketing her listings, Jude is a strong believer in staging. She goes through the home and offers suggestions, referring to Martha Stewart or the Property Brothers in order not to offend. “Let’s ‘Marthanize’ your home!” she’ll say, meaning buy some pillows, fluff the beds, unclutter the floors. Then she uses 3D Matterport photography, drones and a professional camera to create photos that make the difference between night and day. Jude doesn’t mind spending money to make money. She pays to have her listings on Zillow, Trulia and realtor.com come up on the front page. But among many techniques, her pièce de résistance is a Facebook group, “Brookville,” that she began nine years ago to bring the community together. Today it has almost 17,000 members. She has an additional 38 groups from Las Vegas to Washington, with over a million members. She advertises many of her listings as retirement opportunities on the groups outside the area. Jude and her husband are always working, but they love to go RVing. The ocean, mountains, redwoods and rivers are close by, and with wifi in her car, she never misses a beat in her business. She’s close enough to give clients their keys or show a house, far enough for a therapeutic experience. She credits her company, RE/MAX Coast and Country, for a good deal of her success. “Great support makes a difference in where you go and how you get there,” she says. Jude plans to continue going, and getting there, until she retires.
For more information about Jude Hodge of RE/MAX Coast and Country, Brookings, OR, please visit homewithjude.com; call 541-813-9261 or 541-412-9535, ext 117; email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her page at facebook.com/judehodgebroker www.
Top Agent Magazine
Copyright Top Agent Magazine 17
CAREY HUGHES With her parents active in the real estate industry, a career as an agent always seemed like a possibility for Carey Hughes. But it wasn’t until she left her ten-year tenure at Nike that this new professional path would become a reality. In the spirit of entrepreneurship and in pursuit of a more self-directed role, Carey made the transition to the world of real estate. Sixteen years later, Carey has distinguished herself as a consummate professional, having founded a practice built on longstanding relationships, people-first service, and decisive follow-through. Serving the west side of Portland and its surrounding communities, Carey approaches her work with a personal touch and views her role as agent from a position of advocacy. “I care about the person and the family behind each transaction,” she says. “To me, my work doesn’t just come down to numbers—it’s not just another sale to me.” In that vein, Carey focuses on cultivating lasting relationships with her clients, building mutual trust and providing support along the way. Carey’s focus is on quality over quantity, and she never takes on more transactions than she can handle. Because of this, clients are treated with attentiveness, accessibility, and personal sensitivity. With 95% of her business stemming from repeat and referral clientele, it’s clear that Carey’s practice leaves a memorable impression on those she serves. “Really, it’s about being an authentic person, and caring about the people you’re working with,” she explains. “I want to be able to connect with my clients and give them what they need, and I think that’s what keeps them coming back.” As for marketing listings, Carey is methodical and comprehensive in her presentation of each property. Through
wide-ranging social media efforts, she has developed a proven system to yield optimal online exposure. Efforts in staging, virtual staging, professional photography, drone work, and 3D tours ensure that digital presentations captivate potential buyers and keep inquiries flooding in. When it comes to staying in touch with past clients, Carey makes herself available as a resource and shares valuable information on fluctuations in the market through her social media platforms and by e-mail campaigns. She also takes the time to check in by phone, invites past and present clients to lunch, hosts community events in her neighborhood and throws client appreciation parties and barbeques to demonstrate her gratitude to those she’s served. In reflecting on what she loves most about her career to date, Carey says: “Really, what I love most about what I do is the people—working with them, connecting, and becoming friends. Buying or selling a home can be a stressful process, and it’s so rewarding to be able to give my clients support.” Beyond the office, Carey is involved with her local community through various community events she hosts, in addition to sponsoring the area’s high school and youth sports organizations. When she isn’t busy working, she most enjoys spending time with her family—going to her children’s sporting events, having family barbecues, and enjoying the great outdoors. Travel is also important to Carey, and she’s also enthusiastic about staying active, and enjoys going to the gym and walking her dogs. As for the future of her business, Carey hopes to start an internship program to share her professional insight with young students embarking on their professional lives. With nearly two decades of experience at her back and a genuine investment in her clients’ long-term happiness, the future is bound to hold continued promise for Carey Hughes.
To learn more about Carey Hughes,
e-mail Carey@CareyHughesHomes.com, visit CareyHughesHomes.com, or call (503) 516 - 7919
Copyright Top Top Agent Agent Magazine Magazine
3 Ways to Make Your Workspace Work for You Productivity experts agree that a curated workspace positively impacts productivity and mood, but oftentimes we settle for bland desks and cubicles that lack personalized details or considerations for workflow. Why miss out on the opportunity to optimize your surroundings when it could brighten your day—and boost your performance? Keep in mind some of these tactics to make your workspace your own and reap the benefits along the way. Top Agent Magazine
DETERMINE YOUR WORKING STYLE AND DECORATE ACCORDINGLY For the creative set, a colorful and art-filled workspace can inspire fresh ideas and reduce stress. Likewise, casual yet aesthetically pleasing furniture, accessories, and décor set an inviting yet functional mood. A pop of color from an office tool—even something as basic as a stapler—can inject a sense of fun and modernism into your daily tasks. For the more analytical, right-brained worker, clean
Top Agent Magazine
lines and zero clutter go a long way. A few well-chosen personal photos in tasteful, unassuming frames can provide a motivating connection to the world beyond the office, while accessories and supplies that are sleek, monochrome, and contemporary inspire a sense of calm efficiency. BUILD A WORKSPACE WITH YOUR DAILY ROUTINE IN MIND If you find yourself spending hours on the phone per day, or assembling stacks of documents and brochures, or even coming and going from the office with frequency—there are simple adjustments you can make to your workspace that will save you time and energy. If you sit for long hours—responding to e-mails or making calls—try incorporating an ergonomic chair or keyboard wrist-pad to maximize comfort. If you spend a long time assembling presentation materials, then file organizers, trays, and easy-to-pull labels can shave valuable time off your efforts. Lastly, those who step out for frequent meetings can reduce the hassle of being on-the-go by making your space mindfully organized—a coatrack and a dish for your keys by the door, an auto-brew coffeemaker, or an easily edited whiteboard calendar can make jet-setting simpler.
ADD EASY DETAILS THAT ENRICH YOUR WORKING EXPERIENCE While organization and décor can rally productivity and mood, there are also a few extra details you can introduce to your workspace to improve the quality of your working life. Healthy, easy to grab-and-go snacks—think nuts, homemade trail mix, and fresh fruit— can keep your energy up without the sugar crush or guilt. If there’s a window nearby, a hard-to-kill plant like a philodendron or a fern not only cleanse the air around you, but also provide a welcome connection to the natural world. Being prepared in a pinch is another great way to make your workspace work for you: a spare tie, a tube of lip balm, hand sanitizer, or a box of Band-Aids can save you a trip to the store when an unexpected need arises. While we take great pains to make our homes our sanctuaries—complete with the decorations, furniture, and food we favor—we often overlook our work areas, even though we spend a sizable portion of our week sitting at the same desk. Challenge yourself to add a few of these personalizing, productivity-boosting details to your work area and bring the comfort of home to your working life.
Top Agent Magazine
Top Agent Magazine
CHERYL KINLEY Top Agent Cheryl Kinley, Owner and Broker of Oregon West Real Estate in Junction City, Oregon is one of those rare real estate agents who is truly committed to putting her clients first. Her dedication to providing each of them with the very best in client service has become one of her chief hallmarks. Cheryl began her 20-year journey in the real estate industry while still in college. Not sure what she wanted to do, she left after her second year and began employment with a title and escrow company, first as a runner - which morphed into fifteen years doing marketing for them - and later selling real estate for six years. She then departed the industry to work in the education field for fifteen years, returning to real estate three years ago. Since her return, her business has been booming, due in large part to the authentic and honest approach to what is often a cutthroat industry. “I feel like I was blessed with success when I came back into the real estate business,” says Cheryl. She is also grateful to her daughter and son-in-law, who let Cheryl help them with buying and selling a home, which accounted for two of her first three transactions. “Not all kids want their parents to be involved in large decisions in their lives,” laughs Cheryl. “All three of my children – in fact, all of my family - were my cheerleaders. They absolutely encouraged me, which was part of my motivation.” While Cheryl’s home office is located in Junction City, she sells within a large radius, often going as far north as the outskirts of Portland, and as far south as Roseburg. Cheryl currently works as a solo agent, though she is quick to point out the debt of gratitude she owes her husband for the unfailing support and assistance
he provides her with a multitude of tasks, from digging holes in search of septic tanks to providing personal security and offering valuable business advice. With a burgeoning referral business, Cheryl is clearly doing something right. What that is, she believes, is that “I always put my clients first. My daughter says that sounds corny, but it’s the truth. They do come first, and I think they sense that, they feel that, and they experience that as well. I always answer my phone, return texts and emails. My clients have to know that I’m available to them, otherwise what’s the point?” This care and concern has translated into a solid five-star rating on internet real estate portal Zillow.com. Among the glowing reviews is this solid endorsement: “Cheryl was very helpful with all the details of selling my parents home. She knew the price of homes in the area and was very kind and caring through this difficult time. Cheryl dealt with us on every level about everything happening and I trusted her knowledge and skill. I would recommend Cheryl to help anyone buying or selling a home.” In spite of the financial rewards of the real estate business, it’s the more personal aspects that Cheryl finds most enjoyable. “Because of my family, I really enjoy the flexibility,” she says. “I also love to help people. I believe I’m doing what I’m doing for a reason. When you get involved in real estate it becomes evident that it’s not all about buying and selling, it’s about what’s going on in people’s lives. I believe everything happens for a reason, and this is what I’m doing and I’m very happy and grateful that I get to do it.” Looking to the future, Cheryl plans to continue growing her business, while sacrificing none of the high-quality customer service that has become synonymous with her name. “I love the idea of quality, not quantity…and faith,” she says.
For more information about Cheryl Kinley, call 541- 554 - 6476, email email@example.com, or visit oregonwestrealestate.com www.
Top Agent Magazine
Copyright Top Agent Magazine 21
#Reaching the Millennial Market Through Social Media by Bubba Mills
The old adage in marketing says if you aim at everyone you’ll miss them all. I know REALTORS® sometimes fall into the trap of attempting to reach everyone and then scratch their heads when they only hear crickets chirping. If you’re one of those (or even if you’re not), stick with me and I might be able to help you.
know how to reach them. For that part, I’ll share two words: social media. Many surveys have confirmed that social media is the Millennials’ dominant source of information, even above search engines. So the best way to build relationships and trust with Millennials is through social media.
The true beauty of social media is not only its reach but its implied advocacy. When Millennials find content they relate to, they share it with their The National Association of REAL- peers. So if one person shares your TORS® has found that Millennials message, it could instantly go to hunrepresent the largest share of recent dreds (or even thousands) of people buyers (32 percent of all buyers last with the inferred praise of the person year were Millennials). But here’s sharing it. the kicker: the overwhelming majority use real estate agents. Are If you’re not using social media, lights and bells going off in your again, check your pulse. Then start learning about social media and get head? If not, check your pulse. active on it. I promise it’ll be well So a great place to sharpen your worth your time. The big ones are marketing aim is with Millennials. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr That’s half the equation—knowing and Instagram. You can Google each who to go after. The second half is to and get a feel for which ones make Let me start with one word: Millennials—those between the ages of 18 and 34.
Top Agent Magazine
Many surveys have confirmed that social media is the Millennials’ dominant source of information. the most sense for you, but all of them have something to offer REALTORS®.
I’m proud of that because I know in this day and age anyone who sells anything must use social media.
Now I’m not one to toot my own horn, but for this topic I will only with the hope that you give what I say a little more weight. Last year, a national magazine named me to its 25 most connected professionals list.
So here are some tips you can start using to reach Millennials on their terms:
Top Agent Magazine
1. First, take time to understand social media. Join them (they’re free!) 23
Millennials under stand marketers and they’re open to their messages on social media—if the messages are relevant to their lives. Otherwise, they simply ignore it.
and just take it all in. See what it’s all about and what kind of information people share. Spend at least several days learning before you share info. 2. Make sure what you share fits the specific social media outlet. For example, Facebook and Twitter are primarily personal tidbits, news and they’re both fairly casual, while Instagram is geared almost exclusively for visuals and photos. 3. Make sure your information is relevant and useful to improve the chance it gets shared. Millennials understand marketers and they’re open to their messages on social media—if the messages are relevant to their lives. Otherwise, they simply ignore it. 24
4. Make it interesting. Instead of saying, ‘Gee, I have this great listing.’ Why not just share a picture of a cool looking wrap-around front porch of a house (that just happens to be one of your listings) that was built in the 1940s. Bubba Mills is co-owner and executive vice president of Corcoran Consulting and Coaching Inc. (www.corcorancoaching. com/programs, 800-957-8353), an international consulting and coaching company that specializes in performance coaching and the implementation of sound business systems into Real Estate Companies, Mortgage Companies and Small Businesses. Bubba Mills is a nationally recognized inspirational and education speaker, coach and mentor to the top real estate agents and mortgage companies. To find out more about Corcoran Consulting & Coaching, call 1800-957-8353 or visit us at www.Corcoran Coaching.com. Top Agent Magazine
MICHELLE MERTINS Top Agent Michelle Mertins of Exit Realty Bend in Bend, Oregon has quickly established a reputation as one of the most trusted and dependable real estate agents working in her area today. While relatively new to the industry, Michelle determination and dedication to providing exceptional client service has catapulted her to the top of her profession in record time. A former public servant, she became intrigued by the real estate industry while observing an agent friend of hers. “She was always excited about going to work and helping people,” says Michelle. “I was in a job that wasn’t a great fit for me, and I envied her enthusiasm and the idea of actually enjoying what you do for a living. I had always toyed with the idea of real estate, so I asked her to introduce me to her principal broker. I met him, really liked him, and the decision to begin in real estate was pretty easy.” A resident of the lovely Bend suburb of Three Rivers, Michelle works a large swath of Central Oregon, including Deschutes, Crook, Jefferson, Klamath and Multnomah Counties. Clear, consistent communication during all phases of a transaction plays a huge factor in Michelle’s success, as does follow-up with her clients post-closing table. “I always follow up, and I make it a point to follow up with every single lead that comes to me. I have clients use geo-location to capture leads for texting QR codes and an 800 number, so all of those leads go right to my phone and I immediately follow up with them. I put my homes on realtor tours, so I get realtors through the doors and not just buyers.” Once the sale is complete, Michelle makes a concerted effort to let her clients know how much she appreciates them. Having recently teamed up with a custom greeting card company, she uses that medium to stay in touch. Closing gifts that go above and beyond industry standards are another tool she utilizes, including gift baskets that are customized to the client’s interests.
Intensive and cutting edge marketing is another factor in Michelle’s success. While she does utilize the standard MLS route, she also employs a bevy of other methods. “Just prior to going live with the listing, I put it on my Facebook page that has over 500 realtors in Central Oregon,” says Michelle. “I do video walk-throughs, and I’m a member of over 40 Facebook groups where I’ll post the listing as well. I use Instagram, Wordpress, LinkedIn and Craigslist. I make a multitude of flyers, hang them in my office windows, all the coffee shops and hardware stores. I make multiple videos of the exterior or interior of special features of the house.” The appreciation her clients feel for Michelle is best illustrated by this five-star review on Zillow: “Michelle Mertins with Exit Realty is an extremely dedicated agent and will go the distance in an effort to sell your home. She also is very compassionate about owners and the trials they go through in moving or relocating and is there to assist every step of the way. I have bought and sold four homes and have found Michelle to be without doubt the best agent by far.” Highly active in her children’s schools, she volunteers as a assistant coach for her son’s soccer team and also assists her husband with coaching duties for daughter’s volleyball team. She is active in the PTA. Her civic involvement includes the Bend and Sun River Chambers of Commerce. Looking to the future, Michelle’s plan is to continue building her already-stellar reputation, particularly in her home community of Three Rivers. “I definitely want to become a primary agent in this area,” she says. “I want people to turn to me whenever they buy or sell or refer someone. I want to give back to a place I really love.”
For more information about Michelle Mertins, call 541-373-0400 or email MMertins@hotmail.com Top Agent Magazine
Copyright Top Agent Magazine 25
3 Mental Tricks That Will Take Your Business to the Next Level It’s no secret that running a successful business requires careful planning and a tireless work ethic. Beyond those obvious ideals, it also takes the right mindset in order to capitalize on professional opportunity. In the world of real estate and mortgage lending, mental fortitude is a major component to reaching the next level and achieving longevity in a sector that requires so much self-discipline. With that in mind, we’ve compiled a few key mental tricks you can employ to reinvigorate your working philosophy. Incorporate these techniques into your daily mindfulness routine and your business will surely benefit.
Visualization helps you work efficiently and keep your cool.
This may sound like one of the oldest tricks in the book, but there’s a reason why Olympic athletes and those serving in first-responder positions use visualization as a time-honored mental technique. Not only does visualizing your daily tasks help you organize your mind, but it amps up your ability to focus on what’s important. Visualization also helps reduce stress in the moment, since you’ve already created a mental expectation of the task ahead. Whether you’re preparing for a negotiation or a pitch to new a client—visualization primes your brain and affords you an extra sense of control as you tackle your day.
Distill concepts into their simplest terms for ultimate understanding.
As an agent or loan officer, you’re likely juggling numerous clients and commitments on any given day. That’s why it helps to distill your responsibil26
ities in clear, definitive terms. Let’s say you have a meeting set with a client to outline a marketing approach for their property. You may understand the broad strokes, but beforehand, try verbalizing the exact takeaways you’d like to impart to your client. This may seem obvious, but one of the best ways to clarify your communication and ensure your complete understanding of a subject is to explain it aloud in its simplest terms. This crystallizes your main point and can come in handy if you drift off-topic or need to double-down on your message.
Accept that mistakes will be made.
While it’s natural to fear failure, sometimes the dread of making an error can overwhelm your ability to perform. As the saying goes: don’t let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game. If you accept in advance that set-backs will occur, challenges will come, and things won’t always go accordingly to plan—you’ll be less confounded when hurdles do arise. What matters is keeping an even keel as you sort through unexpected delays or mishaps. Accepting that mistakes will happen allows you to shift your focus towards a solution or contingency plan. In other words, don’t spend your energy trying to achieve perfection. Aim high and work hard, but be in touch with reality: upsets are bound to occur. Accept this and you’ll be ready when they do. The path to lasting success is ongoing, and there are bound to be challenges along the way. It takes mental fortitude to make it to the top, so keep these tricks in mind as you continue to grow as a person and a professional. Seeing situations in a new light can make all the difference as you adapt, evolve, and take your business to the next level.
Top Agent Magazine ®
Top Agent Magazine
ANGELA STEVENS It’s easy to see why Portland Monthly magazine named Angela Stevens and her team, Hatch Homes Group, Five Star Professionals seven years in a row. Besides stellar results, passion spills out of Angela’s life. “I love what I do,” she says. “This isn’t just a side thing for me. Clients can reach out to me any time, even long after the transaction has closed. I’ll always be there for them.” Angela’s parents, John and Melody Hatch, started their team as Hatch Homes Group more than 20 years ago. Now the team is part of the highest producing office in Portland, Keller Williams Realty Professionals. When Angela graduated from Portland State University in 2007, her stepdad recruited her, telling her she’d be perfect for the family business. She started as an administrative assistant, worked her way up and got her license in 2010. Today Angela is the team leader, serving the Portland metro area. This year, 90 percent of her business came from repeat clients and referrals—clear proof that her enthusiasm pays off. Listening carefully and staying in touch with past clients are key to her success. “When you’re in the process of the transaction,” she says, “you’re talking to your clients every day. And then all of a sudden, you’re not.” So Angela makes it a point to get coffee or a drink every so often with previous clients, especially when they’ve really connected. She also keeps relationships going with monthly mailings and two annual client appreciation events, Casino Night (an evening event with a charity raffle) and a day at the Oregon Zoo. Two days before Thanksgiving, clients are also invited to the team’s office for appetizers and drinks and can pick up a complimentary pie. Angela delivers a fun, supportive, successful real estate experience clients rave about. She’s an expert negotiator who makes her clients’ goals her own. And in the fast-paced Portland market, having
a family team has been a real plus. “If I have a client who absolutely has to see a house immediately and I can’t show it, I always have back-up support,” she says. “My sister and my parents are as emotionally invested in my clients as I am.” Along with her joy in helping people, Angela adores homes. She began her career as a buyer’s agent and has since remodeled and sold homes, which fit right in with her background in art and design. “Aesthetics are important to me,” she says. “I paid attention to what buyers were drawn to. Now I pull that into helping my sellers, making sure their listing looks as aesthetically pleasing as it can.” Add in professional photography, and the listing doesn’t sit long on the market. Since 80 percent of buyers begin their search online, Angela prepares a strong online presence for her listings, including sponsored links on Facebook and Instagram. She does “mega” open houses, door knocking in the neighborhood or sending mailers inviting the neighbors. “It’s hard to beat what we do for exposure,” she says. “We cover every base, including international marketing.” In addition to participating in office charities like KW Cares, three years ago Angela began a women’s networking group as a way of supporting other women’s businesses and fundraisers. She likes supporting clients’ causes, too, such as the fundraiser for foster children that Hatch Homes sponsored this year for a past client. When Angela’s not working, she loves family time, especially taking her two kids “glamping” in the vintage Airstream trailer she and her husband remodeled last year.
Passion defines Angela’s future as well as her present. She loves mentoring her team and ultimately wants to become even better at it as she expands her business. This Five Star Professional is sure to enjoy every minute as she moves forward.
For more information about Angela Stevens of Hatch Homes Group, Keller Williams Realty Professionals, Portland, Oregon, please visit angelas.hatchhomes.com, call 503-758-9207, or email firstname.lastname@example.org http://
Top Agent Magazine
Copyright Top Agent Magazine 27
Top Agent Magazine